LED traffic lights are great and a prime example of green technology – they last longer, don’t need a lot of service, use less electricity, and can be somewhat easier to see. However, all of these benefits can come at a cost. High energy efficiency is a great thing, but it can sometimes turn against you – during snow storms, if the lights get covered by snow (during heavy winds, for example), the LEDs don’t heat up enough to melt it.
This is already becoming a big problem for some cities, as crashes are being reported caused by inability to see the traffic lights. The problem isn’t noticeable everywhere though, as the snow needs to be a of a specific kind to cover them up like that.
People are coming up with various proposed solutions to the problem, but it will take some time for any of them to be implemented. The best one so far is probably the idea to heat up the lights only when they’re obstructed – it’s certainly possible, and it shouldn’t be hard to do.
[ Via Treehugger ]